As you know, our bags are made with donated materials, by caring volunteers, which helps enormously to keep the costs of the project to a minimum. However, there are always costs - from thread to printing ink to the little recycled nylon labels, to storage space and machine maintenance... So far these costs have been met by Stitch Kitchen (community enterprise which runs this an other textile-waste reducing projects), but we need to work towards this project being truly sustainable - financially as well as socially and environmentally.
This is why we decided to offer the opportunity to not only borrow our bags through community bag libraries, but to permanently adopt our bags, to keep as your own, or give as gifts.
We now have two bag options, plus a handy little purse which is made from the bag off-cuts (making the bags zero waste!):
Click the buttons to go to a google form where you can select the item and choose your preferred colours, payment method and delivery option.
"Where does your fabric for the bags from?"
Our answer: We started with surplus curtains from the Dunedin Curtain Bank, which were too small, or otherwise unsuitable for their needs. We also had a considerable stash of fabrics at our studio at the Stitch Kitchen.
We have also had fabric given to us in the form of curtains and duvet covers from the surplus from op-shops, who find these items difficult to sell.
Local curtain manufacturer, Active Furnishings, have also invited up to see what we can use from their off-cuts, which they normally have to dump.
Our aim to to be able to accept more of the surplus and 'waste' materials from op-shops and local manufacturers, to help reduce the 4K Tones of textile waste that ends up in Dunedin Landfill each year!
We are always careful about the type of fabric we select for bag making, ensuring it is strong, stain-free and easy care.
If you have a question, or have been asked about the project, please do pass it on to us so we can include it in our FAQs
The last month has been highly eventful for the social and economic climate in the world of bags!
Our government announced it's positive response to pressure from community, with it's resolution to have single use plastic bags phased out over the next 12 months.
Major retailers have also responded, with Mitre 10, Z, The Warehouse, Countdown and Foodstuffs removing their traditional single use bags from checkouts (replacing them with stronger versions of plastic bags -intended for reuse...we can hope).
The details are still very fuzzy, and it comes with it's share of controversy...as there always will be with any major social change. If you're keen to follow up on some of the details, here are some great articles:
To give an update, and hear your thoughts on this, we will be holding a public meeting, and hope very much that you'll be able to join us:
BAGS FOR GOOD PUBLIC MEETINGMONDAY 10th September, 6-7pm
Stitch Kitchen Studio: 88 Vogel Street, corner of Jetty Street
Please RSVP by the 7th September by emailing me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you cannot make it, but have any questions, or suggestions, please also let me know by email.
Bags For Good now available at Blacks Road Green Grocer!
Thanks to all the wonderful bags made over the past few months at our sewing bees at The Valley Project, and by our volunteers sewing at home, we are able to stock our first retailer!
Blacks Road have a wide selection of un-packaged goods, reusable packaging options, local produce, and a fantastic in store cafe so you can really take your time deciding on your purchases :).
Drop in and say Hi to Christopher and check out our bags on our bag tree by the counter.
To celebrate the start of the bag library @ Blacks Road, we are running a competition to win one of our limited edition super-bags plus a $25 voucher!
BORROW, TAG & WIN! With Bags For Good and Blacks Road Green Grocer
Simply visit Blacks Road Grocer, borrow a bag, take photos and share them on social media (Facebook or Instagram) and make sure to tag Blacks Road Grocer and Bags for Good
Winner drawn, and tagged on our page, on Wednesday 1st August
Want to use your super sewing skills to do good, or perhaps gain new skills?
Our sewing bees are a great place to learn about all stages of production; from cutting to pressing to sewing to screen printing! They're also a fantastic way to meet like-minded people!!
Starting next month we will be running sewing bees every Thursday, 10am-1pm, at Stitch Kitchen Studio (88 Vogel Street) (this is a new time for the sewing bees we've been running fortnightly from 3-7pm). For those who cannot make a mid-week time, we will be continuing to run our monthly sewing bees on the 1st Saturday each month, 10am-1pm, at The Valley Project (262 North Road, North East Valley).
These sewing bees are free to attend, but if you are able to bring a koha to help us cover power and use of the room it is much appreciated!
Donations of fabric, pre-loved curtains, duvet covers etc, and sewing thread are also much appreciated.
For any home sewists who cannot make it to these sewing bees, we'd still love to have your help! We can arrange a time for you to collect (or deliver to you) bundles of pre-cut bags, complete with care label and screen printed pocket. We have many fantastic home sewists who have enjoyed getting to be part of the project even though they cannot get to the sewing bees.
Last month we officially launched Bags For Good at The Regent Theatre 24-Hour Book Sale!
The whole weekend was amazing, but a special highlight for me was hearing volunteers who've helped at the sewing bees and by sewing bags at home say how proud they felt to be part of the project!
Our beautiful hand-made stands were finished just in time! I've affectionately named the stands our 'bag trees', and hanging the bags on them was more exciting than decorating any Christmas Tree, and I think they looked better too, especially once the bags started to be returned into the baskets at the bottom :). The bag trees were handmade by Mark, a local man-of-all-trades who carefully considered the design and materials to ensure they were safe for use near food, adaptable for different settings, and lightweight for transport.
We we thrilled to see most people had remembered to bring their bags, but still loaned over 60 bags (many as 'shopping baskets' while people browsed), and had around 40 returned throughout the sale, and in the week after. Feedback from everyone was very positive, and the bags proved their strength and versatility many times over.
So, where are we going next?...
It's been just over a year since we held our first community meeting and Bags For Good was born. It's been a learning curve, and after much hard work, we're super excited to be finally ready to launch our first bag library!
Visitors to The Regent Theatre 24 Hour Book Sale on the 8th and 9th of June, will be the first to be able to 'borrow and bring back' our awesome bags.
The Regent have been plastic-bag-free for some years, and always encourage book sale customers to bring their own bags, or to take purchases home in a box (both brilliant options!). This year volunteers have even been busy collecting and making bags which customers can purchase for a donation. Bags for Good will be there as another option for people who have forgotten their bags, or need an extra. The theatre will also be a drop-off point for people to return the bags on repeat visits or in the weeks following the sale.
Do come and find us and say "Hi"! I'll be there (with sewing machine, of course!) from opening at 12pm till 7pm on Friday, and from 9am till closing at 12pm on Saturday.
Want to adopt an amazing Bags For Good bag of your very own and support our project?
We have a limited number of our 'all-the-bells-and-whistles super-deluxe bag-to-make-all-other-bags-jealous' bags available. These come with the special "BOUGHT TO SUPPORT" print (so everyone knows you're not just skiving around with a bag you were meant to have returned :D).
These are now printed and polished and ready for purchase for just $20.
You can order and collect at any of our sewing bees, or reply to this email and find out how you get get hold of one at other times. (Be sure to get in quick to ensure you can choose your fabric/colour scheme!)
"What if no one returns the bags?" is a question we get asked a lot!
Our answer: We will be doing as much as possible to encourage people to return the bag they've borrowed, so that it canl be there for them when they need it the next time they get caught without.
If the bags do go on a longer home visits, then hopefully they be reused and appreciated. We will encourage people to take photos of their adventures with their bags and help spread the message about avoiding single-use plastic.
Meanwhile, we'll continue our acts of kindness, sewing more bags and making them available for those who need them, and gradually grow the number of locations where the bags can be made available. The more bags get returned, the faster we'll be able to be available in a store near you.
Bags for Good co-ordinator, Fiona Jenkin, recording bag adventures on the mission to reduce textile waste, reduce plastic, and build friendships.